Tag Archives: Interview

From Idea to Product with Thrive at Wearable Technology Show



Specialists in wearable technology, Thrive Wearables helps companies and entrepreneurs take ideas and concepts through to finished products. At the Wearable Technology Show, I chat with Jacob, Thrive’s founder, about their design service and the challenges facing the wearable market in 2018.

To understand what Thrive do, think of a big company that sells goods that aren’t electronic in any way. Say, clothes or shoes. The clothier can see complementary wearables as an opportunity but has no knowledge or experience in the space. In this instance, it can turn to Thrive Wearables to help deliver the imagined product without the need to develop in-house skills.

Alternatively, the Thrive team can mentor startups to get their ideas to a prototype. The startup can then seek the funding needed to take the prototype to finished product.

For example, Thrive worked with BioSelf on their Sensate stress management wareable which is currently in a beta phase and taking pre-orders.

Looking to the future, Jacob sees wearable tech disappearing into clothing and becoming more modularised and seamless. Key to delivering this change are higher quality sensors, better power sources and improved communication networks. Here’s to the next few years.


Really Smart Shoes from Tinker Design at Wearable Technology Show



While most tech shows have their headline acts like Apple and Samsung, I really enjoy talking to the the entrepreneurs, artisans and artists who come up with ideas and concepts that are unlikely to be on the shelves PC World anytime soon. Here’s a great example from the Wearable Technology Show: Thushara from Tinker Design has these beautiful smart shoes. Not content with the normal smart features of steps and distance, these shoes give the wearer a gentle foot massage under control of their smartphone. It’s a great combination of design, aesthetics and electronics.

Supported by Centre for Fashion Enterprise, a fashion business incubator, Thushara hopes to bring these to market in around six months. No details on price but as these are handmade shoes, they’re not going to be cheap.


Safe Cyclists Save with Nomi at Wearable Technology Show



Kicking off GNC’s coverage of the Wearable Technology Show, I chat to Valentina of Nomi. Their bright backpack LED display keeps cyclists safe while doubling up as a mobile billboard. The Nomi uses GPS to locate the cyclist and then show adverts relevant to the local area, with the rider earning a small commission from the advertiser.

Alternatively, the display can be programmed to show pictures or other information from, say, Twitter or Facebook.
 

The Nomi display is expected to come to market within a year and will be relatively inexpensive at around 30 euros.


Aveine: Breath of the Wine at CES 2018



As serious wine connoisseurs know, you have to let red (and some white) wines breathe after opening, allowing them to aerate for the best aroma and taste. As a generalisation, the younger the wine, the longer it needs to rest before drinking. Very young wines might need a few hours, but half-an-hour is the minimum. And simply taking the cork out doesn’t count: the wine needs to be decanted (or double-decanted back into the bottle) for proper aeration. If this sounds like too much effort, then take a look at Aveine, a connected aerator and winner of a CES Innovation Award. Don and Matthieu get every wine tasting its best.

Thanks to the connected aerator Aveine, you can immediately taste any wine in ideal conditions without having to wait 30 minutes or more. Place the aerator on the bottle, scan the label with your smartphone and serve. The smartphone checks for the wine in its database, connects to the Aveine and adjusts the aeration so that the aerator breathes the right amount of air as the wine is poured allowing it to breathe in an instant. Any red wine will benefit and there’s no waiting around or pouring into decanters.

The Aveine aerator is launching on Indiegogo in March – signup for notifications at Aveine. Retail pricing is expected to be US$200 with deals on Indiegogo. Delivery in June.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

P.S. This is possibly the funniest CES video – a few things are lost in translation.

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Smarten up the Garage Door with SkyLink at CES 2018



Converting a house into a smart home shouldn’t mean replacing every electrical device for a new smart model. A cheaper and greener way is to add smart features in with wireless accessories. A good example here is SkyLink Nova which adds smart capabilities to automatic garage doors at relatively low cost. Don and Frank take a closer look at SkyLink Nova and its accompanying ecosystem.

The SkyLink Nova is wired into an existing garage door opener using the standard connections used for the interior open/close button. Once connected up, the Nova can be remotely controlled with the SkyLink smartphone app (iOS and Android). Nova is also compatible with If This Then That (IFTTT) platform and Alexa so the garage door can be opened (or closed) by talking to an Echo.

The Nova itself looks like an LED light fixture and works as a smart home hub too, communicating with up to 100 smart devices. In addition, it can detect sirens from smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house. When one of those is heard, Nova will automatically open your garage door to aid in ventilation in the case of an emergency.

SkyLink‘s Nova will be on sale in the spring for under US$100.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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Get Smappee for Energy Efficiency at CES 2018



The efficient use of electricity is a win-win: it both saves money and saves the planet. At home, energy-efficient LED lightbulbs have all but replaced incandescent bulbs, which means the quick wins are gone. The next step is to identify the big energy consumers in the home and that’s where Smappee comes in. Stefan and Don save the world.

Smappee is an energy monitoring system that identifies the energy usage and behaviour of major appliances in the home. Each fridge, AC unit, cooker, TV has a unique electrical “fingerprint” and over time the Smappee monitor works out which appliance is starting and stopping, sometimes with a little help from the homeowner. With this information, Smappee shows the running cost of each one in the complementary Smappee app. Anything that consumes more than 20W can be identified but really the wins are with devices that use kilowatts of power.

Smappee doesn’t require an electrician to install Smappee as it uses a sensor clamped round the live cable coming from the meter. Nothing needs to be cut or permanently installed.

Smappee is available now for US$350.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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MusicLens Sunglasses Let You Listen to Music at CES 2018



If you want to listen to music you need to put on headphones or use a Bluetooth earphone. Both of those can become uncomfortable over time and hurt your ears. Echo Music solves this problem with their MusicLens sunglasses that use bone conduction technology.

Daniele spoke with Junyi from Echo Music at CES 2018. MusicLens sunglasses let you listen to music through bone conduction technology. You don’t have to wear headphones, and no one else will be able to hear that you are listening to music.

Bone conduction technology is the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull. MusicLens sunglasses use this technology to reduce the sound leak you would get from headphones. Bone conduction technology can also protect your eardrums while you listen to high quality music.

MusicLens connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Download the music from your phone, or from the Echo Music app, to the MusicLens sunglasses. MusicLens has buttons on it that you can use to turn it on or off, to adjust the volume, or to have the Echo Music app autoplay. In addition, MusicLens will automatically take your phone call within five seconds.

There are several styles and colors of MusicLens to choose from. MusicLens with prescription lenses is priced at $88. Classic Ladies or Classic Mens style is priced at $99. MusicLens Fashion style without storage is $120, or is $199 with storage.

Daniele Mendez is a contributor to F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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PhoneSoap Sanitizes Your Phone at CES 2018



Think about all the things you touch in a day. You might use a grocery cart, push an elevator button, open a door knob, or shake hands with a co-worker. All of these things can put bacteria onto your hands. Next, you touch your smartphone and transfer bacteria onto it. PhoneSoap can sanitize your smartphone, tablet, and more.

Daniele spoke with David at CES 2018. PhoneSoap is a UV sanitizer for devices like phones and tablets. It uses UV light, similar to what hospitals use to sanitize devices.

Put your smartphone into the device. Once you close the device, the light comes on. The UV light will stay on for about ten minutes. At that point, your smartphone is sanitized. The UV light will sanitize up to 99.9%

PhoneSoap also works as a charger, so you can charge your phone while it is being sanitized. It is priced at $59.95. There is also a PhoneSoap Wireless that is priced at $99.95. PhoneSoap XL is priced at $119.95. It can sanitize tablets and other objects that will fit inside it.

Daniele Mendez is a contributor to F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Deep Force Empowers AI on Devices at CES 2018



Your privacy is important. Posting your photo, or other personal data, online can be an uncomfortable experience. How will that company use your likeness and information? Deep Force uses artificial intelligence to keep your personal information private.

Daniele spoke with May from Deep Force at CES 2018. Deep Force powers artificial intelligence on devices. They leverage deep learning, which is the most advanced AI available. Its face recognition accuracy is over 99.9 percent.

Deep Force takes that model and uses it for heterogenous computing.This process helps all the different parts inside a smartphone to work together more efficiently, which makes the device to have more computational powers.

Instead of requiring users to send their photos, videos, and audio over the internet, Deep Force enables smartphones to process all the information on the device itself. It works even if you are in a place that does not have Wi-Fi. Deep Force makes an app that their partners can use in their products. The app is not sold directly to individual consumers.

Daniele Mendez is a contributor to F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Encrypted Storage with SecureDrive at CES 2018



Encrypted external hard drives and USB memory sticks have been around for at least a decade, but most of the time it’s either locked or unlocked: if you have the password, you’re in. Sergey from SecureDrive shows Scott their security solution to this common problem.

SecureDrive specialise in hardware encrypted data storage. They’ve three product ranges with varying capacity (1 – 5 TB) to address different security and storage requirements.
– SecureDrive BT, which uses Bluetooth and an app for authentication
– SecureDrive KP, which uses keypad authentication
– BackupDrive, which backs up files and encrypts them with built-in anti-malware
For the rapid transfer of large files, all the devices use USB 3.0, and for security, it’s pending FIPS 140-2 level 3. That’s pretty secure.

The unique part of the SecureDrive solution focuses on the BT model, which uses Bluetooth and an authentication app. Instead of the drive only being locked or unlocked, the solution allows additional controls for geo-fencing and time schedules. For example, the SecureDrive BT can be set to only unlock between 9-5 M-F or only if the unit is within company premises. In addition, there’s remote management so authorisations can be revoked and the drive remotely wiped.

The drives are assembled in Ohio, USA, and they’re available for purchase priced at  US$299-$499. The remote management feature is a subscription service.

Scott Ertz is a software developer and video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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